Did you know, in most cases you must attempt mediation before attending court?
As well as being notoriously expensive, the family courts in the UK are extremely busy. There are no quick appointments to have your case heard in order to formalise child arrangements or deal with your property and financial issues.
In order to help cut down the amount of cases brought before a judge, the family courts now insist that before being granted a hearing, in most cases, people must first attempt mediation. The reasoning behind this is that in an awful lot of cases, mediation can resolve the issues in a similar manner to the courts, it does so more quickly, less expensively and, just as importantly, it allows those involved to come to a mutual agreement rather than be told by a judge what is going to happen. This usually means there is a far greater chance of success post agreement.
In reality, this means that each ‘couple’ must attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) where information is provided about the mediation process and the suitability of the case is assessed. The MIAM is usually conducted with both parties involved separately but, depending on individual circumstances, it can be conducted jointly. If, at the end of the MIAMs, the case is assessed not suitable for mediation, then the requisite court forms are completed and the case can proceed to court.
If, however, the case is deemed suitable for mediation (which the majority are), then what will follow are a number of mediation sessions where both parties will discuss and reach agreement with regard to the issues they need to resolve. This may be co-parenting responsibilities, such as where their children will live, how much contact and active involvement each parent wishes, holidays etc. It may be that both parties just need to resolve their financial issues, including property if they own property. In a lot of cases, people need to discuss and come to agreement in all three areas.
The courts do not insist on mediation if cases involve domestic violence.
Our mediators are extremely experienced and all are fully accredited with the Family Mediation Council. They ensure that mediation between couples is always individually tailored to best suit their needs and to allow them to come to agreement in all of the areas needed. Each session may be an hour long, some stretch to 90 minutes and there can be anything from two sessions for straight forward cases up to three or four for the more complicated.
Can children be involved?
As a service, we are very child aware and, depending upon the circumstances and the wishes of both the parents and the children, if it will help a case, we will always consider including the children in the mediation process in order to allow them the opportunity to discuss and let be known their feelings on the situation.
How much will this cost?
We are fully aware that during and immediately post the breakdown of a relationship, finances are all too often very difficult for one or both parties involved. For this very reason we maintain a contract with the Legal Aid Agency which means that for those who qualify, the entire process is cost free to them with legal aid covering all of the fees. If the second party does not qualify for legal aid, then their MIAM and first mediation session will be at no cost to them as legal aid will also cover this for them.
Our full fees for those that do not qualify for legal aid are available here.
If you need any further information our website should hopefully answer all of your questions, if not then please feel free to call us or send us a message and we will be able to answer any questions that you may have. Contact us.